- Food & Drink
I’m running very late with my #GBBO Bake Along this week. Mostly due to going on holiday, which meant I spent last week frantically working and packing and wondering what I’d forgotten to pack, meaning there was no time for baking at all.
Plus, I’ve already posted a recipe for soda bread. I blogged it in the summer after I’d been to Ballymaloe, where soda bread was a staple part of our diet. For the first month soda bread was all the bread we had, as we tried to perfect the art of the non-green loaf (too much bicarb gives your bread a green tinge). I still remember how luxurious that first slice of yeast bread tasted after weeks of quick breads.
My, ahem, signature twist on soda bread for the bake along is fruit. I’d planned to make this with plums, but then I came home to my parent’s house and there were no plums. There were grapes, though, and I do like a hot grape. I thought they’d go nicely with rosemary, but there was no rosemary. So I went back to the original plan, stirred a spoonful of Chinese 5 spice into the mix and hoped for the best.
Whatever you do, don’t eat this hot from the oven. The grapes are little fruity atomic bombs that will sear right through your mouth if you try to eat them hot. Let it cool for an hour, then cover it in butter. A crumbly slab of Cheddar wouldn’t go amiss, either.
Soda Bread with Red Grapes & Chinese 5 Spice
Makes 1 loaf
450g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp salt
1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
250g red grapes
1 tsp Chinese 5 spice
2 tbsp caster sugar
300ml whole milk
A squeeze of lemon juice
1 medium egg
1 Preheat the oven to 230°C/Fan 210°C/Gas 8. Dust a baking tray with a little flour.
2 Sift the flour, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a very large bowl. Stir in the grapes, Chinese 5 spice and caster sugar.
3 Pour the milk into a jug. Squeeze in a little lemon juice to curdle it. Crack in the egg and beat it into the milk. Pour most of it into the flour, leaving about 100ml fluid in the jug. Shape your hand into a stiff claw and stir it around the bowl, mixing the flour and milk and bringing it together to make a soft, light dough. If it’s not coming together, add more milk until it does.
3 Turn the dough out onto a work surface dusted with flour. Wash and dry your hands and then gently pat the bread into a round. Flip over and pat into a neat round. Lift onto the baking tray. Slash a deep cross into the bread and stab it in each corner with your knife.
4 Bake for 15 minutes, then turn down the oven down to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6 and bake for a further 30 minutes. Turn the bread over and continue baking for 10-15 minutes until it feels light and sounds hollow when tapped. Best eaten on the day it’s made.